In modern American society, there are many roles that professional athletes have taken on, many of which are more reliant on the money they make and the attention they receive in their profession verus of the nature of their work. This positive use of money has been seen this past week with the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The first notable donation towards the cause came from Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. He made an initial donation of $100,000 to the cause and started a fund so that others could donate through an online fundraiser. As of Friday, he had met his goal of $17 million and raised his goal to $20 million.
This weekend, with the help of his teammates, Watt sent 10, 18-wheelers full of supplies, such as water and food, to Houston. Watt has made comments that his donations and help will not stop when the media attention stops, despite his practice and game schedule. “I’m not just here for the initial fundraiser. I’m here to make sure that we take care of you down the road,” Watt said to ESPN.
Watt and his fellow Texans are not the only athletes taking an interest in Houston. Some of the other significant contributions came from Leslie Alexander, the owner of the Houston Rockets ($10 million), the Houston Astros ($4 million), Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys ($1.1 million) and the Baltimore Ravens ($1 million). Many of these contributions came from teams and players based in Texas, although players and teams from other areas also donated to the cause. Some of the groups outside Texas included the Scott Kazmir of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Carpenter and Adam Wainwright from the St. Louis Cardinals and former Yankees player Alex Rodriguez.
Although many of these contributions are coming directly from players or people associated with teams, many of them are promoting the cause and influencing many of their fans to contribute to the cause and drumming up more support for those in need in Houston as well. Athletes have always been looked up to by many fans and had their personal lives looked at through a microscope.
This type of media attention is just one example of players using this attention for the good of others. The Hurricane Harvey relief effort is just one of the more recent causes to which athletes have donated. Previous to last week, Watt already had the J.J. Watt Foundation which is a program that works with middle schools, primarily in Wisconsin and Texas, to help with funding for after school athletic programs.
This is not just limited to NFL players though. Former soccer player David Beckham is well known for his charity work and contributions. He was one of the founding members for the U.K. Leadership Council’s Malaria No More mission. Additionally he and his wife, Victoria Beckham, also have their own charity, the Victoria and David Beckham Charitable Trust, which focuses on providing wheelchairs to kids who can’t afford them on their own.
Watt and Beckham are just two examples of the hundreds of athletes who have donated their time and resources to various charities that they feel strongly about. Hurricane Harvey is just a more recent event where professional athletes used their media and financial power to help those less fortunate than themselves.